CHARLIE appleby has every confidence that sprinter Blue Point can provide jockey William Buick with a confidence-boosting comeback winner.
Appleby, who trains for Sheikh Mohammed’s Goldolphin operation, believes the classy three-year-old colt has come on for his fourth place in the 32Red Sprint Cup at Haydock.
“He looks the one to beat,” declared the trainer ahead of today’s John Guest Bengough Stakes at Ascot.
It would be a major tonic for Buick – the Northern Racing College graduate has endured eight weeks on the sidelines after the ill-fated Permian, trained by Middleham’s Mark Johnston, came to grief at the end of the Group One Secretariat Stakes in Arlington, Chicago.
Winner of York’s Dante Stakes, and then the King Edward VII Stakes at Royal Ascot, Buick landed awkwardly and suffered a compression of his T12 vertebra when the luckless horse shattered a leg.
He’s had to sit on the sidelines while the in-form James Doyle proved a more than able substitute. However, it was Buick who was in the saddle when Blue Point won last year’s Gimcrack Stakes at York. “It’s great to have William back,” added Appleby.
“He started riding out last week and he’s been itching to get back. It’s just the way it’s worked out that Blue Point is William’s first ride back and it’s appropriate given he knows the horse so well.”
North Yorkshire Colm McCormack travels to Prague tomorrow for his first ride in the 127th Velka Pardubicka – the Czech Grand National – at Pardubice.
McCormack, who rides for the likes of Dianne Sayer, Rebecca Menzies and Ken Slack from his Saltburn base, will team up with his old friend Guillaume Macaire, the trainer of Songe D’Estruval.
The 11-year-old has been supplemented to run in the Pardubicka, an unique cross-country race across ploughed fields and huge hedges.
Josef Vana, now 65 and who has won the race eight times, rides Ange Guardian, whom he trains himself.
McCormack has nothing like that experience to call up, admitting: “It’s my first ride in the race and I haven’t walked the course yet, I’ve only seen it on TV. I’ve ridden in France, Belgium and Italy, but this will be a first.”
Television pundit Hayley Turner has a chance to make headlines of her own when she partners Michael Bell’s Flying Sparkle, a leading contender for Redcar’s Totepool Two-Year-Old Trophy.
The horse’s win at Windsor in early July was Turner’s first since returning to the saddle following a shortlived retirement.
Unfortunately, one of the top two-year-olds of the year, will be aimed at the Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot after being put away for the year following a disappointing performance in the Middle Park Stakes at Newmarket last Saturday.
Leyburn trainer Karl Burke revealed the Prix Morny scorer took a knock which prevented him from running to form in the Group One landed by U S Navy Flag.